Obligatory pictures in front of the big Epcot ball.
I think Sam thought he was on a ride here.
And for those who will ask about the outfits... Sam's white polo was just an Old Navy polo and we appliquéd over the pocket icon. I bought the shorts last year (I think they are BBTN). The girls tiered dresses are from Dharma and came blank; Mom happened to have the fabric that matched Sam's shorts so we appliqued the dresses with that fabric; the girls' leggings are from Target.
We started the day with the Nemo ride (which is one of the only rides at Epcot for little kids.) This is similar to the Little Mermaid ride in MK. It was super cute and I liked the special effects. After this ride you can look at all sorts of fish in the aquariums and the gift shop here is cute too. We did Turtle Talk with Crush, which is sort of an interactive show where Crush (the turtle from Finding Nemo) is on a huge TV screen but talks and interacts with the kids and adults. Again, not something I thought would interest my kids but they loved it and laughed even when they didn't get the jokes. It was cute. Not a must-do, but it's cute and it's a good sit down break if you've been walking in the park for a while.
After this we did Soarin, which is one of the most popular rides at Epcot. You sit in a seat and your legs hang off the edge; you are lifted up in sort of an IMAX theater setting and you 'hang glide' over California. Really neat special effects again (like when you fly over an orange orchard and you smell the oranges), and definitely a ride to Fast Pass. The wait for this can be up to 2 hours even in non busy times of the year (My cousin said it was 3 hours and 20 minutes at Christmas time, just to give you an idea.) Luckily we went in the Fast Pass line and didn't have to wait. Also, when you get close to the end of the line, ask a cast member if you can please sit on the TOP ROW! The experience is way better if you are on the top, because you are higher and can't see other peoples' legs hanging down; if you are going to wait in a long line anyway, might as well make it worth it - ask for top row! Also, this ride has a height requirement of 40 inches. Mary Ella could have ridden but she chose not to.
After Soarin' we headed to the World Showcase because we had a lunch reservation in Norway. We were a bit early so Mom, Dad and Chad went to ride Maelstrom (the log ride in Norway) and I waited outside with the kids. I saw my favorite princess walk by as we sat on the curb! So fun. She was headed inside the restaurant so didn't have time for pictures.
This rascal was so funny in the strollers. Little acrobat.
This was probably one of the prettiest days we had at Disney. The weather was perfect, around 70 degrees and sunny with a light breeze. Emma Kate celebrated by eating some Norwegian leaves.
Our lunch was the Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Norway. The building looked like an old castle and the details were stunning. I should have taken better pictures but I was too focused on the kids.
We were greeted at the entrance by Belle herself and the girls got their picture made with her.
I'm sure they probably rotate which princess is the greeter, but just know that if you book this dining experience it includes a professional photo of your kids with whatever princess is at the front entrance. We were glad it happened to be Belle, of course! Also, since she was the greeter, she did not come around to the tables like the other princesses did, so I'm guessing this is your only chance to meet whichever princess is at the door. So get a picture while you can!
The other princesses came to our table during lunch and they were all in character, as usual. My favorite was Snow White; she was 110% like the one in the movie. The voice, the mannerisms, everything. Loved her.
Emma Kate loved the princesses too. They were sweet to include baby girl.
If you don't want to wait in line to meet a Disney Princess, I would definitely say to book this lunch! You are guaranteed to meet each and every one (well, whichever ones are there that day; each one WILL come to your table) and they all take their time to talk to everyone in your group.
I will also say that on AllEars.net, they tell you that Cinderella is NOT at this meal, and as you can see, that proved to NOT be the case for us. We met Cinderella, Snow White, Aurora, Ariel, Rapunzel and Belle. The Disney website says that sometimes Jasmine and Mulan are there too, but they were not there on this day.
The food was good, too. They had a few traditional Norwegian dishes - I think Dad and Chad ordered the meatballs. Mom and I stuck with something more familiar - wild mushroom ravioli with a creamy Parmesan sauce - and it was delicious. They also have a Norwegian buffet with lots of finger foods and salad/seafood items that you get to try; it is included in the price of your meal. And the dessert was a trio - some sort of carrot cake, a rice cream with strawberry sauce, and chocolate mousse cake. :)
After lunch we were ready to burn off the calories with a walk around the world.
We entered China after Norway (I think). Love the details in each of the countries.
Our original plan was to try and sample something out of each country, but since we'd just eaten a huge meal we didn't get to try something everywhere. But that would be a fun thing to do if you didn't have a meal planned - grab a snack from each country. Like this Arome Lychee beverage from China that tastes like carbonated Blue Dawn dish soap. I bought it for the cute factor, because it was a canned drink that was clear and in a clear can; and that's about all it had going for it. The end.
As we entered Germany we saw Snow White again signing autographs.
At Epcot there will be several characters within their 'home' countries in the World Showcase. Snow White in Germany, Aladdin and Jasmine in Morocco, Mulan in China, Mary Poppins in Great Britain... those are just a few I can remember.
I loved Germany.
And this is why.
The caramel shoppe was the greatest smelling place in all of Walt Disney World.
I'll have one of everything, please.
We settled on a dark chocolate caramel with sea salt and you must not miss the hand crafted caramel popcorn with the original Werther's caramel... you will never open a box of Cracker Jacks again.
Moment of applause for the caramel.
We kept walking through the countries; I can't remember where this is but the kids loved this little countryside and train set.
Here is Japan.
I thought my kids would be bored out of their minds, but as it turns, out only teenagers are bored at Epcot. My kids loved it. There aren't many rides for them but there is lots to see and do. With kids it doesn't take much -- a barrel drum, a telescope, a fountain, a random street entertainer... and there was plenty of that as we walked around the World Showcase.
Little Miss was even content. As long as she had her goldfish.
We finally made it around the big loop and one of the last countries was Great Britain, and Sam finally got to see Mary Poppins, his favorite real-life movie character. This was his face the moment he saw her.
For some reason I didn't get a picture of her, and of course there was a forever long line and when we asked Sam if he wanted to give her a hug, he offered a resounding NO, so we just stared for a while and then moved on to Canada.
I think we rode Spaceship Earth on our way out but that was pretty much it for Epcot. (We had ridden Test Track the night before, and that's another good ride that you will not want to miss. Mary Ella rode it and loved it.) I think we left around 4pm or so and we decided to head back over to Magic Kingdom. We wanted to see the Main Street Electrical Parade and the fireworks. So we headed that way.
Mimi and Sam went to grab a Mickey balloon while we waited in front of the castle for the parade to start. We had the perfect spots right in front of the castle.
I loved the Main Street Electrical parade when I was little and still do. The music is still the same. However, I don't remember there being so many colored lights; it used to be mainly white lights with maybe just a hint of color. Now it's like a Lite Brite explosion. Still good, just different. I was a little disappointed that Mary Poppins is not in this parade anymore. She used to walk down the street in her white dress which was made of the white lights. We did see a host of other characters though. And this is still a must-see in my opinion.
Afterwards we watched the Wishes show and the fireworks which were amazing as usual. Nothing like some Disney fireworks. And nothing like not knowing a thing about taking pictures of fireworks. I have no idea how to do this. Thus the terrible pictures.
After this we rode Haunted Mansion and Peter Pan again while the crowds were filing out and then we made our way to the bus stop. We ended up waiting in line for over an hour to get on our bus (even with Dad's scooter) but thank goodness the kids slept in the strollers. Definitely a reason to rent a stroller elsewhere or bring your own - I would NOT want to be standing at a bus stop late at night with 50 million other people and have to hold a sleeping baby. I will say also that many Disney planning sites go on and on about how the bus system is a nightmare and avoid the buses at all costs, yada yada... we really had no trouble at all and my kids loved the buses. Granted, we were there at a less crowded time of year, but there were still TONS of people there. I guess if you have another option, take it (monorail, your own car?), but don't NOT use the buses just because you've heard/read terrible things. They do pack them full (as in, if you are sitting you may have 8 people standing around you) so I can imagine in the summertime this would be miserable, and maybe that's why I've read bad things. But we had no trouble with wait times, crowdedness, etc for the most part.
Needless to say, we finally made it back to the room and we slept like babies.
The next day was our last day in the parks. Hopefully I'll finish that post sooner than later! And fill you in on life since Disney. Which can be summed up in one word: sickness. See ya real soon! :)